Bangkok’s Lungs: Cycling through swamps and palm plantations in Bang Kachao

Bangkok, Thailand, Ships, Freight, Freighter, If you take the small, brightly-painted ferry from Khlong Toei across the Chao Phraya river, you will reach Bang Kachao- the aptly-nicknamed ‘lungs of Bangkok’. Rent a bike for 100 baht from the shop directly opposite the dock, and spend the day cycling through palm oil plantations, swamps and little clutches of houses raised on wooden stilts above the water. Monitor lizards can be seen here (we found one!), and the abundant greenery and water help keep the air cool.


Moreover, there is little traffic and they are all accustomed to driving around bikes. Follow the usual rules of the road (helpfully, there are flashing yellow signs wherever two roads meet) and you will be fine. The route is a mixture of two lane concrete road and tiny metre-wide concrete pathways through the swamps (probably best to dismount and push your bike on these).

Bangkok, Bang Kachao, Klongtoei, Chao Phraya river, Ferry
Looking towards Bangkok from Bang Kachao

The woman at the rental shop gave both of you a cycling map. You let your friend Nin navigate while you peddle behind, brushing off the giant red ants that seem to keep appearing from nowhere. The bike wobbles dangerously as you try to fish one out of your bra (cheeky bugger!) and shake another one out from your trouser leg. Whatever you do: don’t put your bag down on the floor.

Discarded spirit houses by the side of the road
Discarded spirit houses by the side of the road

There are plenty of places (ranging from someone’s front porch to a big 7/11) to buy water and snacks, as well as small restaurants and street stalls offering the usual noodles and rice.

One final thing to note: the ferry stops at 8:30pm, and there are no lights on the rental bicycles. Night rides are not a good idea, and sunset in Bangkok (in October at least) is about 6pm.

Khlong Toei port
Khlong Toei port

UPDATE: It’s cheaper to rent a bike in Bangkok and take it on the ferry with you.. though I strongly recommend you don’t try and ride it from the rental shop to Khlong Toei.

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2 comments

  1. Nice to see that there are green spaces in Bangkok as well. Thanks for the hint with the fairy times, that may be really creepy if you have to spend the night “on the lonely island”

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